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Articles

The Interesting History of Kayaks and the Sport of Kayaking

Article By: Craig Dawber

The first kayaks were created thousands of years ago by arctic inhabitants now known as the Intuits. These early indigenous people, formerly known as Eskimos, inhabited areas of Greenland, the northeastern point of Russia, Alaska, and the uppermost regions of Canada. Early Eskimos made kayak frames using driftwood, and early kayaks were wrapped in sealskins. Early kayaks were virtually unsinkable with air-filled seal bladders. These early kayaks were used during summer months primarily for hunting and fishing. The word "kayak" literally means "hunters' boat."

Early kayak design varied according to the specific needs of inhabitants of particular regions. For instance, early kayaks designed by inhabitants surrounding the Bering Straight created wider, shorter kayaks. This kayak design provided a large area for storing game and supplies, and it was more stable on rough water than the longer more slender kayaks designed for speed by the Aleuts. Kayaks were designed to remain upright on rough waters, and the design of the kayak enabled kayak users to right themselves if turned over by rough frigid waters that would otherwise prove deadly in an open craft.

Early kayak design varied according to the specific needs of inhabitants of particular regions. For instance, early kayaks designed by inhabitants surrounding the Bering Straight created wider, shorter kayaks. This kayak design provided a large area for storing game and supplies, and it was more stable on rough water than the longer more slender kayaks designed for speed by the Aleuts. Kayaks were designed to remain upright on rough waters, and the design of the kayak enabled kayak users to right themselves if turned over by rough frigid waters that would otherwise prove deadly in an open craft.

Europeans eventually discovered the versatility of the kayak, and kayaks once designed with sealskins were designed by Europeans with fabric covers. In 1905 a German inventor named Hans Klepper eventually purchased a design for a folding canvas kayak from a German student. He called this kayak a "foldboat." Klepper began selling this early version of the folding kayak, and kayaks once used primarily for navigation and hunts by indigenous people were now being used for sport.

In 1936, kayak racing became a part of the Olympic games in Berlin. Kayaks were used in an event called "flatwater racing." Kayak clubs began developing all over Europe, and kayaks became more and more popular as time went by.

The 1950's brought the development of the fiberglass kayak, and a company known as Valley Products began producing the first fiberglass kayak. This fiberglass kayak was known as "Anas Acuta." Valley Products went on to design another kayak called the "Nordkapp." This model could handle more cargo while remaining tight and maneuverable. Just as early Eskimos designed kayaks, modern kayak designers also designed kayaks according to regional needs and preferences.

Plastic kayaks were introduced in the 1980's, and kayaks continue to become lighter, sturdier, and more versatile. Now there are several types of kayaks designed with various materials suitable for a variety of sporting events. Those who love the sport of kayaking have more choices now than ever before.

Copyright 2006 Smarket Limited

Your #1 Resource for Kayaking Articles, Products, News and Info! For more information please visit http://www.kayakingresources.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Craig_Dawber



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